September 11, 2012

State of Alabama
Press Release: Alabama Department of Commerce

Business and Economic Opportunity Expo to Offer Expert Advice for Small Businesses

September 10, 2012


Amos Otis, CEO of SoBran, will be the featured speaker at the awards luncheon. 

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama -- Featuring one of the nation's top business owners, a presentation by Microsoft and more than 50 exhibitors expected, the 17th annual Business and Economic Opportunity Expo is a must-attend for area small businesses.

"This year is really exciting," said Jackie Reid, board chair of the North Alabama African-American Chamber of Commerce. "Every year we try to do something different, and we did really well this year."

The theme is "United for Business and Economic Success," and Amos Otis, CEO of SoBran, will be the featured speaker at the awards luncheon.

SoBran has been an Inc. 500 Fastest Growing Company and a Black Enterprise Top 100 Black-owned Business for several years. Otis is also a director of the Federal Reserve Bank in Cleveland.

The NAAACC and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System at Alabama A&M University are hosting the daylong event Thursday at the Von Braun Center.

The event's seminars are free to the public, but organizers are asking those who plan to attend to register.

"With presenters from technology giant Microsoft and key economists from the Center for Business Economic Research, conference attendees will be positioned to dream bigger and bolder ideas that will change our community," said Reid, president/CEO of Exodus Technology.

A pair of public sessions at 8 a.m. will kick off the conference.

There will be a presentation on "Using Technology to Grow your Small Business" by Regiuel Days of Microsoft. Dr. Sam Addy, director of the University of Alabama Center for Business and Economic Research, will provide an Alabama economic update.

Afternoon workshops and panels, which are open to the public, will cover "Youth Entrepreneurship," "Access to Capital," "Doing Business with Government Agencies" and "Effective Use of Social Media by Small Businesses."

Event sponsors include Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama, state Rep. Phil Williams, the Alabama International Trade Center, state Rep. Laura Hall, and the Huntsville Housing Authority.

Reid said there are still tables available for the luncheon for $400; individual tickets are $35.

To cap off the day, there will be a "Conference Cool Down & Networking" at 7 p.m. at the Improv, 200 J Oakwood Ave.

"This is the key: Networking," Reid said. "You need to put your business out there."

Business and Economic Opportunity Expo
When: Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Von Braun Center
Cost: Seminars are free. Luncheon tickets are $35 per person; $400 for a reserved table.
Contact: Visit or call 256-564-7574
Host: NAAACC, the Alabama Cooperative Extension System

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